Categories
Transport

Dubai vows to inject funds into Emirates amid Covid-19 losses

Full details of the government’s plans will be announced at a later stage

Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has vowed that Dubai will inject funding into Emirates amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it was announced on Tuesday.

According to the UAE’s state-run WAM news agency, the move to inject liquidity to the company is a reflection of “its strategic importance to the Dubai and UAE economy, and the airline’s key role in positioning the emirate as a major international aviation hub”.

On Twitter, Sheikh Hamdan said that “the government of Dubai is committed to fully supporting Emirates at this crucial time and will inject liquidity into the company”.

“Emirates, our national carrier, positioned Dubai as a global travel hub and has great strategic value as one of the main pillars of Dubai’s economy, as well as the wider economy of the UAE,” he added.

Travel restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, forced Emirates to suspend passenger operations earlier in March, as well as cut staff wages.

Further details of the government plan to inject funds into the airline will be announced “at a later stage”, WAM reported.

Around the world, a number of countries have announced plans to support airlines amid the losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States, for example, has announced $58bn in assistance.

In a recent episode of the Arabian Business podcast, Saj Ahjmad, the chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research said that government assistance may not be enough to save many airlines around the globe.

“Assistance by various governments will help to a certain degree, but the reality is that it may not be enough,” he said. “Whatever IATA is talking about in terms of hundreds of billions of dollars, to be honest it may run into tens of trillions, because you’ve got to factor in the supply chains of hotels, leisure centres and associated supply chains with those that rely on aviation as a catalyst for their own industries.”

“It’s going to run into trillions, and I really don’t see that we’ve reached the bottom of this yet,” he added.

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Transport

TUI UK completes customer repatriation as final flights lands

The arrival of 265 passengers at Birmingham Airport from Cancun has marked the end of a mammoth repatriation programme mounted from TUI UK in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The long-haul flight was the final part of a finely orchestrated operation bringing 45,000 holidaymakers home.

The complex process was planned as government and local authority advice changed and countries closed their borders. 

Hundreds more holidaymakers, unable to get home with the airlines they had travelled with, were also repatriated by TUI from destinations including Goa, Jamaica, Turkey, Spain and Marrakech.

The flights could not have been operated without the efforts of 964 TUI cabin crew and 362 flight crew team members, who put in over 11,000 flying hours to get customers home.

The repatriation effort was supported on the ground by over 2,500 TUI destination reps overseas who were on hand to help customers as they waited in their hotels and resorts before.

In the last ten days 192 TUI airways flights have taken off from 30 overseas airports in destinations across the world from Spain, Turkey and Greece to Mexico, Costa Rica and Thailand, bringing customers and 320 overseas destination reps back to 16 UK airports.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK & I, commented: “I don’t think anyone could have imagined just a few months ago that we would be where we are today.

“We have dealt with the largest repatriation operation our business has ever seen, bringing 45,000 of our own customers, and hundreds of other holidaymakers, back from overseas, and now our operation, and the entire, travel industry is temporarily ‘on pause’.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who played their part in getting our customers home as safely and as quickly as possible.”

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Travel

Cruise: Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruises extend suspension of voyages amid covid-19

Most people have put their holiday plans on hold due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Cruise voyages have been suspended and flights have been cancelled, leading to an influx of refunds. But while cruise customers were hoping for their future voyage plans to remain intact, their holiday dreams may have just been dashed.

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Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruises both announced today that they will be extending their voyage suspensions.

Norwegian Cruises said the extension now includes voyages embarking between April 12 and May 10 2020 for its three cruise brands.

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The move is to help contribute to the global efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The extension includes voyages for Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd said that covid-19 is still having a “significant impact on communities” across the globe.

He said: “With COVID-19 continuing to have a significant impact on communities throughout the world, we are extending our temporary suspension of cruise voyages across our three brands through May 10.

While we understand this disruption may inconvenience our loyal guests and valued travel partners, we are committed first and foremost to protecting the safety, security and well-being of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit.

“We appreciate their continued understanding as we navigate through these unprecedented times and do our part to help global efforts to contain this pandemic.”

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Guests who are currently booked on voyages with embarkation dates between March 13 and May 10 2020 on Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises or Regent Seven Seas Cruises have been asked to contact their travel agent or the cruise line for more information.

Royal Caribbean said that the move was to provide “peace of mind in guest travel planning”.

They said they are now extending its ‘Cruise with Confidence’ cancellation policy to September 1 2020.

The updated policy will allow customers to plan flexibly and cancel their voyages up to 48 hours prior to sailing for any reason.

However, guests will not receive a cash refund but credit instead which is usable on any future sailing of choice in 2020 or 2021.

Company chairman and CEO Richard Fain said: “Guests are reacting positively to our Cruise with Confidence policy.

“Because it enables them to make informed decisions and to better manage complicated travel plans during this unprecedented time of uncertainty.”

“We want our guests to feel they can safely keep their existing cruise bookings or schedule new sailings.

“Because this policy gives them more freedom and flexibility.”

The extension applies to both new and existing cruise bookings.

The policy applies to all cruises with sailing dates on or before September 1, 2020, and applies to the company’s global brands.

Royal Caribbean Cruises is a renowned global cruise company that controls and operates four brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea Cruises.

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Destinations

Bucuti keeping in touch with social campaign

With tourism around the world paused due to Covid-19, one resort is bringing its message to would-be guests and followers virtually until they can travel again.

Aruba’s 104-room Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort owner and CEO Ewald Biemans has kicked off the resort’s social media initiative #BringingBucutiToYou with a video series on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Juan, Nakarid and Pauletti #BringingBucutiToYou from Elements Restaurant at Bucuti! The restaurant team is upgrading, training, creating new recipes and refreshing to make Elements better than its ever been – for your return.

A post shared by Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort (@bucutitara) on

New videos post several times a week. Upcoming videos will feature Bucuti associates bringing messages from guests’ favorite Bucuti spots, including the sun loungers on Eagle Beach, servers greeting followers from the deck of the oceanfront Elements restaurant and guests taking a dip in the pool.

“At our resort, our associates are our heart and soul. Caring for our guests is paramount whether they are here on property or, in these unique times due to the pandemic, far away,” Biemans said.

“When travel resumes, Bucuti & Tara will be ready to welcome our guests as soon as they touch down,” he said.

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Categories
Destinations

Ten Brazilian Museums to Explore Virtually

Just because COVID-19 has many of us sequestered at home doesn’t mean we can’t dream about (and plan for) our next adventure abroad when travel resumes. Officials at Brazil’s museums are doing their part to keep travelers’ wanderlust alive, teaming with the Google Arts & Culture department to offer virtual tours of some of the country’s most distinguished art and architecture.

Via the newly formed partnership, consumers can take a virtual tour of Brazil’s museums from their homes. Not only do the sites provide full information on the museum collections and fascinating artistic and cultural legacies in South America’s largest country, but they are ideal tools to use in planning activities for a future Brazil vacation.

Here are the 10 museums, found in the signature Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, which virtual visitors can explore now and plan to visit in person later.

São Paulo Museum of Art, MASP (São Paulo): MASP offers a world-class permanent collection highlighted with works by Di Cavalcanti, Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso. Each virtual tour features more than 1,000 virtual pieces. User can expand each piece to learn about each piece’s creator, history and artistic context.

National Museum of Fine Arts (Rio de Janeiro): Opened in 1937, the 193,750 square foot National Museum features 70,000 paintings, drawings, engravings, sculptures, objects, documents and books, focused on Brazilian art. Considered the country’s most important art museum, it offers the additional benefit of its location in Rio de Janeiro’s historic center.

National Museum of Brazil (Rio de Janeiro): Brazil’s oldest scientific institution and largest museum (founded in 1818) partnered with Google for an online display of archives that survived the devastating September 2018 fire. The headquarters in Paço de São Cristóvão is now undergoing reconstruction work.

Museum of Modern Art (Rio de Janeiro): The MAM Rio collection consists of 15,000 works including sculptures, paintings, photographs, drawings, prints, installations and contemporary media. Considered a landmark in modern Brazilian architecture, the museum is housed in a late 1950s building designed by Affonso Eduardo Reidy.

Museum of the Indigenous People (Rio de Janeiro): The facility chronicles the contemporary and historic culture of Brazil’s indigenous people, with 23,176 ethnographic pieces and 15,121 national and foreign publications specialized in ethnology and related areas. The collection features 268,623 photographic images, 599 films and videos and 1,295 sound files.

Immigration Museum (São Paulo): The collection explores the experiences of thousands of immigrants who came to Brazil and stayed at the Casa do Migrante. The displays feature family collections representing communities that arrived in the country during the 20th century.

Football Museum (São Paulo): Located in the Pacaembú stadium, the museum spotlights the country’s signature sport as a cultural heritage and part of Brazil’s identity. The best goals and great names in the sport are featured along “the pioneering women of a discipline that many times denied them access,” according to organizers. It is in the São Paulo capital.

Brazilian House Museum (São Paulo): Dedicated to Brazilian architecture and design, the collection features together furnishings and decorative accessories dating back three centuries.

Brazilian Fashion Museum (Rio de Janeiro): This collection brings together the best of Brazil’s fashion, featuring the nation’s imperial period in beautifully decorated rooms. The collection consists of 3,500 19th century heritage pieces, clothing, accessories, prints and fans.

Castro Maya Museum or Chácara do Céu (Rio de Janeiro): Housed in the former residences of collector and patron of the arts Raymundo Ottoni de Castro Maya, the museum complex incudes creations from Matisse, Modigliani, Degás, Seurat and Miró, plus works by Brazilian artists Guignard and Iberê Camargo. The exhibition also includes an important collection of maps from the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Categories
Cruises

Globus cancels travel until July

Globus, one of the world’s largest tour operators and the
parent of river cruise line Avalon Waterways, has cancelled all tours, cruises
and vacation packages through June 30 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

While many travel companies earlier this month suspended
operations through April, they have increasingly over the past few weeks pushed
back expected restart dates through at least the end of May.

President Trump on Sunday extended until the end of April
his call for Americans to stay home and practice social distancing. Many
countries have closed their borders indefinitely.

Click for links to travel companies’ schedule changes and
cancellation, refund and commission policies.

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Categories
Transport

Government pledges £75m to repatriate stranded Brits

The British government has pledged to bring home thousands of travellers stuck abroad following a new agreement with airlines.

The global travel situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic has seen many holidaymakers stranded overseas – leading to criticism of the authorities.

In response, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, Jet2 and Titan Airways have signed a memorandum of understanding negotiated by the foreign and transport secretaries.

British Airways have also made clear it will work with the government in the national interest to get people home.

Foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “This is a worrying time for many British citizens travelling abroad.

“We’ve already worked with airlines and governments to enable hundreds of thousands to return home on commercial flights, and we will keep as many of those options open as possible.

“Where commercial flights are not possible, we will build on the earlier charter flights we organised back from China, Japan, Cuba, Ghana and Peru.

“The arrangements agreed today will provide a clearer basis to organise special charter flights where Britons find themselves stranded.”

UPDATE: The UK Government and the airline industry to fly home stranded British travellers.

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Categories
Cruises

Cunard and P&O Cruises extended sailing suspension until May

Cunard and P&O Cruises have extended the suspension of all voyages as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow around the world.

Both Carnival Corporation-owned lines will not set sail again until at least May 15th.

Cunard said it would continue to monitor government guidelines and travel restrictions in ports of call around the world, and this may mean there are further changes to the timing of when each of the ships returns to service. 

Simon Palethorpe, president of Cunard, said: “The impact of Covid-19 is affecting personal routines and businesses as well as placing significant travel restrictions around the world.

“Everyone in the Cunard team is aware of the need to support the management and containment of Covid-19 globally.

“This includes protecting the health and safety of our guests and crew. It is therefore right we extend the pause in operations.”

Cunard and P&O Cruises guests who were due to sail between April 11th and May 15th will automatically receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit. 

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, added: “It is clear that our original date of April 11th to resume sailings, which would have been a 30 day pause in operations, is just not feasible in light of the government announcements last week.

“Regrettably, therefore, we are now extending this pause until May.

“Given the current guidelines it is prudent and practical to extend the pause until normal operations can be resumed.

“As we work through the evolving restriction on ports around the world future itineraries may be subject to change and so we are looking at how we phase our ships back into service.”

Coronavirus

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Categories
Travel

Watch Virgin Australia’s musical farewell to last international service

In a musical showstopper, Virgin Australia’s ground staff have bid farewell to the final scheduled international service as the airline halts operations today.

Through the words of pop power balladeers Journey, ground crew at Brisbane International Airport sang “Don’t stop believin'” as flight VA153 to Auckland set off for the last time.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic Virgin Australia has grounded all international flights as of today until at least June 14.

To mark the final flight, for now, Virgin Australia crew filmed themselves performing a choreographed dance of waves and aeroplane wings on the tarmac and quiet departure halls of the Australian airport.

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Categories
Travel

easyJet grounds entire fleet of aircraft over coronavirus after 650 rescue flights

The airline announced this morning in a shock move that amid the coronavirus pandemic, they will ground their fleet of aircraft. easyJet said in a statement: “As a result of the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of national lockdowns across many European countries, easyJet has, today, fully grounded its entire fleet of aircraft.

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“Over recent days easyJet has been helping to repatriate customers, having operated more than 650 rescue flights to date, returning home more than 45,000 customers.

“The last of these rescue flights were operated on Sunday March 29.

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“We will continue to work with Government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.

“At this stage there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights.

“We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view.”

The airline said they have repatriated 45,000 Britons from around the world due to the coronavirus.

easyJet brought the last flight in yesterday and have done 650 rescue flights, according to Sky News.

If the Government wants them as a charter flight to bring more Britons home, they will reportedly be available.

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But the commercial sector of their business has closed for good now.

The company has worked with Unite the union to agree to two-month furlough arrangements for cabin crew.

This means that crew will be paid 80 percent of their average pay through the Government job retention scheme.

More to follow…

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